Travellers have been in the news a lot recently, what with the Dale Farm debacle.
The Telegraph reports today on an all-too-frequent occurrence at a traveller site in Northamptonshire. Paul Staley, a farmer, and his son Sean wereÃ‚Â returningÃ‚Â to their farm when they disturbed a group of people stealing parts from two vehicles parked on the farm.
The thieves made off in a vehicle and forced their way past Mr Stanley’s allegedly pointing a shotgun at them out the window as they made off.
The Stanley’s gaveÃ‚Â chaseÃ‚Â andÃ‚Â followedÃ‚Â the vehicle to a traveller site outside Northampton. Police officers arrived and the victims pointed out the offenders’ vehicle inside the camp, it contained stolen parts from two of the farmers’ vans including a metal container, wheels and bumpers.
Police declined to go into the camp toÃ‚Â seizeÃ‚Â the vehicle or make enquiries as to the whereabouts of the offenders telling the victims that they were not allowed onto the site until a full risk assessment had been made.
The story in the Telegraph doesn’t report on whether this risk assessment was done nor what the conclusion was, but police later said that three officers went onto the site in the early hours but the vehicle was not recovered. It is not clear whether the Stanleys got any of their property back.
Mr Stanley said: “If weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d had a shotgun out they would have had an armed response and helicopter flying over us and weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d have been in all sorts of trouble,Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ said Mr Stanley, from Wootton, a village just south of Northampton.Ã‚Â But when itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the other way round with travellers it doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t happen.
“The police were there, the vehicle was there, our stuff was in the back of it. It could have been job done. It was only when I went public that they became interested.”
I can imagine that the risk assessment said something along the lines of. Travellers have a reputation for violence, travellers have been known to possess illegal firearms, old bill don’t have enough officers. We’ll fill in a crime report and leave everyone thinking we are scaredy-cats.